The goal of the project is to determine the viability and sustainability of using hemp fibers for paper making versus traditional wood paper pulp, and to create “regional hemp fiber and pulp supply chains with local farmers, thereby invigorating the domestic economy from field to sheet,” according to a press release.
Hemp Recycles is conducting the project in partnership with Western Michigan University (WMU) through its Paper Pilot Plant, a large-scale recycling facility.
“This is an exciting and timely investigation into the potential benefits of an alternate fiber source (hemp),” said Lon Pschigoda, WMU’s Paper Pilot Plants director. “We are honored to be the chosen technical partner for this study and very much look forward to the execution of the study as well [as] the sharing of the results. Non-wood pulps are continuing to grow in popularity, but there is still much we can better understand.”
Researchers will test various wood pulps and hemp pulp provided by Hemp Press, a hemp paper company, to determine the number of cycles each can withstand. The research results will provide “scientific data regarding the durability of hemp fiber pulp for paper and the implications of its recyclability on the environment at large,” according to the release.
“This research is the culmination of more than a decade of hemp paper innovation at Hemp Press,” said Matthew Glyer, founder and CEO of Hemp Press and executive director of the Hemp Recycles project. “Our aim is to establish hemp as the preeminent alternative fiber needed to protect and preserve the most effective and widely distributed carbon capture device on earth, our ancient and endangered forests.”
Erica Stark, NHA and HIF executive director, said this type of research is “what the industry needs.”
“Hemp for paper products holds so much potential, and this research will provide long-term benefits well beyond the life of the project,” Stark said.